SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Archie #21.
Archie Andrews and Reggie Mantle's bitter rivalry has come to a head. Written by Mark Waid with art by Pete Woods, Archie #20 saw the two teenagers face off in a drag-race on Serpent's Hill, while the level-headed Betty rushed to stop them -- and instead ended up in a three-car crash. Waid spoke with io9 about what readers can expect in Archie #21 and revealed that the outcome of the crash had very real and dire consequences: namely, that Betty Cooper is left fighting for her life.
Previously, Waid had teased that the "Over The Edge" storyline would include the death of a major character in Riverdale, and it looks like Betty could be it. Asked why he chose Betty to be the character left clinging to life, he explained, "It needed to be someone whose life touched the lives of the other characters in a significant way."
As Waid puts it, Betty Cooper is "the Heart of Riverdale" and "her loss will be felt immediately." Neither of those statements bode well for Betty, but Waid certainly isn't being definitive as to how "Over The Edge" will conclude. Readers won't get a chance to read Betty's fate until the third and final part comes out in July with Archie #22.
Is there reason to hope Betty may make it after all? Waid did say that his focus in this story is less about making major changes to the Archie universe and more about realistic portrayals. "This is a story about what happens when we make small, poor decisions and they end up having big ramifications," Waid shared. "I’m more interested in showcasing how these characters evolve and respond to tragedy than just killing someone off for the shock value."
Mark Waid and Pete Woods' Archie #21 goes on sale June 21.